Game Pile: Eversion

What, another free game that now is asking you to pay money for it? Why, Talen, you’d almost think you’re making sweet, sweet kickback money from those clearly-opulent indie developers. Me and my desire that good games should earn the people who make them some money may seem a bit self-serving – in that I mainly want to be paid for the tthings I put on the internet for free – but ignore that priority and focus instead on the game.

Eversion is a short, cute platforming game based around a classic literary quote and a simple enough mechanic of changing the world to advance your process through the world. It was originally available for free online, and contained nicely in a single small file. That was perfect for me – I didn’t even have to install it, just ran it out of a single zip file. It was remaked in ‘HD’ for sale on Steam, which… you know what? This is a blog. This is visual. Check it out:

eversion

Old version, new version. Tell me that’s not a visible, tangible improvement.

Eversion is a short, challenging platform game with a smart premise and a fun mechanic. It’s fun, it’s cheap, and if you don’t need a game’s investment to weigh in at weeks of play time, it is definitely worth your time.

Verdict

Buy it if:

  • You’re a fan of older platformers with fast, sharp controls.
  • You played the original.

Avoid it if:

  • You don’t handle fast changes in play experience.
  • You dislike jump scares.
  • You’re sensitive to plot twists…

… Okay, think people are gone?

Right, see, the thing about Eversion that I don’t like talking about to people who haven’t played it is about the whole ‘horror’ thing. Eversion is one of the best horror games I’ve ever played, personally, because of how it wields its story tropes. One thing that horror games do – badly – is that they set themselves up as horror games. They stand up and they tell you that they have horror in them, often with things like zombies on the cover, or they tell you that you’re going to be horrified. In some games, what this usually means is that you’re barraged with horror elements with no greater context. When things are peaceful and calm, it’s with this vague, overarching sense of menace that doesn’t do anything to put you in the context of the story. This problem is really prevalent amongst 90s horror movies – where the trope-driven storytelling meant you were just expected to enter a story expecting things with hooks and chains.

Eversion is a fascinating game – and excellent – because one of the crucial elements in its horror is that it’s something you do to yourself, almost always. The game can be finished with only minimal dips into the dark world – but what that yields is, itself, strange and dangerous and dark. The game doesn’t tell you about its second ending, it just expects you to work it out yourself, by collecting all the gemstones. Then when you become used to its dynamic of darkness and dolorous decay, the out-the-other-side scratching of a world that is not your own, it twists itself around on you again. The invisible nature of evert points mean that you have to explore to solve problems, and sometimes obscure elements in the background details are more important than you’d think.

I love Eversion, and I’m glad I can now give someone some money for it.

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